Anne Erhard, SVP and NA Director, Corporate & Brand Citizenship/PurPle, MSLGROUP is a panelist for the “Effective CSR Marketing” session at the Net Impact Boston Career Summit on February 21st. Here’s a sneak preview of what you’ve got to look forward to.
What inspired you to pursue a career with positive social or environmental impact?
I started my career in PR, more straight media relations and communications focused in the financial industry, specifically institutional money management. It fit as I had several PR internships in college – one in public affairs more specifically, and one surrounding the transportation industry. While I was moving up and getting promotions, I feared that I would be stuck doing the same thing for years without a feeling of real contribution to society. So I started doing some pro-bono communications work on the side and realized my passion was more on the issues side of things. That experience was enough to get me an entry level job in cause marketing/cause branding and even though this meant a step back (in pay, title) it has served me very well since. That was more than a decade ago!
What’s the most interesting/most fun/most challenging aspect of your job?
The most interesting, fun and challenging aspect of my job is probably the same thing. It is the fact that I work on multiple clients, in multiple industries, making an impact within multiple issues. I love creating and communicating programs that have a business impact as well as a social one, and at any given moment I may be working in: the retail industry/female empowerment from supply chain internationally all the way to causes for women domestically; technology company/the need for NGOs to spark more online/mobile/social giving; health nonprofit seeking corporate support to help ensure the health of babies worldwide. I love to learn about the all of these issues and needs and carve solutions for making an impact, but there is a constant need to “become an expert” in any one industry or issue on a given day, which can be tricky – especially as issues are evolving rapidly.
What advice would you give to those looking for a career with a positive social or environmental impact?
There are many ways to make a positive impact so don’t get too focused on one niche or specific career path. Here are a few options:
- Corporate – CSR, sustainability, community relations, strategic philanthropy
- NGO – corporate partner development, fundraising, programming and mission execution
- Agency – many agencies has practices focused in cause and CSR
- Government – advocacy, public affairs
Sign up today to come to the Career Summit on February 21st and join the panel “Effective CSR Marketing: Aligning CSR Strategy with Brand Marketing Objectives” to hear more from Anne.